AN MP has launched a campaign to improve animal welfare in the United Kingdom.

Richard Holden, MP for North WEST Durham, has been alarmed by the growing number of dog thefts in the UK and recent reports of dog thefts and attempted dog thefts in North West Durham. Dog thefts in the UK increased by 250 per cent in 2020 due to lockdown.

Mr Holden said he has been contacted by a number of constituents who are concerned about walking their dogs amid reports of attempted thefts in the area.

He has also been contacted by constituents concerned about horses being tethered and left during lockdown, fireworks causing distress to household pets and protection of the natural habitats of animals across the UK.

The launch of the campaign coincides with a survey being launched on his website about animal welfare and has submitted a request for Westminster Hall debate on animal welfare and horse tethering once the public health restrictions have eased.

Mr Holden said: “We are a nation of animal lovers and I know that animal welfare is something my constituents feel incredibly strongly about, whether it’s people concerned about animals being neglected and mistreated or people wanting to see changes in the law to see protection for wild animals."